Famous exegete of the Premonstratensian Order; b. at Chrysopolis (Besancon); d. about 1155
Zacharias Chrysopolitanus, a famous exegete of the Premonstratensian Order; b. at Chrysopolis (Besancon); d. about 1155. He was first headmaster of the Cathedral School at Besancon; then joined the Order of the Premonstratensians at the Abbey of Saint Martin in Laon, where he gave himself up to literary pursuits. He published a Gospel-Harmony with a grammatical and etymological explanation of the Greek, Hebrew, and some Latin words found in the text, under the title, "Unum ex Quattuor, sive De Concordia Evangelistarum" (cf. P.L., CLXXXVI, 11-620). The work is introduced by three prefaces, the first of which shows the relation of the Gospel to the Jewish Law, to philosophy, and to the symbols of the Evangelists; the second describes the Evangelists and their view of the mission of Christ; the third enumerates the authorities which he uses. The Gospel-Harmony is divided into one hundred and eighty-one chapters. As to the original Harmony, Zacharias attributes it to Ammonius of Alexandria. For his main sources he relies on the Latin Fathers for the most part. Among the teachers of the Middle Ages, he employs mostly Alcuin and Remigius of Auxerre. From the commentaries on the sacraments the work is shown to be the product of the early days of Scholasticism. In his explanations he tries to give as literal a sense as possible to the Biblical text. He differs in one notable exception from Ammonius, where he assumes that Christ made another journey to Samaria after His triumphant journey into Jerusalem. Zacharias's work is to be commended for his taste in selecting passages from the Fathers, and his endeavors to keep to the literal sense of the Scriptures. His work compares very favorably with the "Catena Aurea" of Saint Thomas.
LEO T. BUTLER